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The tradition of gemstone mining has existed as long as civilisation itself. Over the centuries, it has evolved into a thriving industry, spanning six continents and 47 countries. The activity supports the livelihoods of many individuals: around 75% to 80% of the world’s gemstones come from artisanal small-scale mining, an activity predominantly conducted by family-owned businesses. While it represents an important source of income for communities, artisanal gemstone mining can sometimes lead to poor work conditions and environmental degradations, as some miners lack the knowledge or technological resources needed to protect themselves and the environment.
How do we improve this? Experts in the industry agree that boycotting all gemstone sales would have a detrimental effect on local communities, who survive thanks to their trade. But improving this industry has become a clear necessity to ensure workers’ wellbeing and prevent any further environmental damage.
One of the main obstacles in improving this trade is the difficulty in tracing a stone’s origin. From mine to market, a gemstone will typically go through a series of handlers and traders, often located on the opposite sides of the world.
A first step in improving the industry is for retailers to clearly map out their supply chain. At 77 Diamonds, we are currently working to better understand our own, so we can make decisions aimed towards sustainability and look for improvements where necessary.
As we embark on this journey, we understand the gemstone industry cannot be changed overnight, and this will require time, patience and dedication. But small steps can bring about big change: by first educating ourselves on the way gemstones are produced, we can better educate others and help find alternatives that are both sustainable and contribute to the welfare of miners.
We are collaborating with our suppliers to promote better practices in the industry, and are currently working to provide our customers with a range of gemstones that can be traced directly back to the mine. Our suppliers are also working with vendors to uphold shared commitments of responsible sourcing, which will sometimes include independent desk-based and, where possible, on-site assessments of mines.
Unlike diamonds, gemstones do not benefit from an international grading standard. 77 Diamonds are working closely with the International Colored Gemstone Laboratory (ICL)
to provide individually-certified gemstones that comply with our exacting standards.
On each certification, you will find the gemstone’s colour and clarity grade (as delivered by the ICL), as well as carat weight and proof of origin.
High-quality photographs and visuals
Purchasing a gemstone demands an important level of research and preparation. To help you make the best possible choice, and to ensure transparency on all our items, we offer high-quality photographs and a 360° view of each individual stone.